Alienages are squalid city wards in which elven citizens dwell.

Background[edit | edit source]

The group walked into an elven alienage, a walled-off part of a large city. The buildings here were mostly hovels, crammed close together and even on top of one another. It was a haphazard pile of tenements and dirty shops, washing lines strewn across the street sometimes going up two or even three stories high. The street itself was mostly mud, the worn paths filled with stale water and smelling of dung. The only spot of color in the entire quarter was the central square, where a well-tended oak tree spread its branches wide, its vibrantly green leaves forming a canopy that left much of the ground beneath it dry. A wooden stage had been built there, adorned with poles that were covered in bright blue garlands. A place of celebration, Duncan imagined, even if there was nothing on the dusty stage now.

Kirkwall Alienage heraldry

Alienages were established by Divine Renata I following the Exalted March upon the Dales, as a space within a human settlement set aside for those of the elven people who submitted to human rule.[2]

Though elven enslavement is an uncomfortable memory in most parts of Thedas, the lot of city elves is far from equal in these ghettos. While there are rarely laws which strictly prohibit elves and humans integrating, an elf who moves into a human area from the alienage is likely to be subjected to insults, torment, and in many cases, violence. The alienages exist as a place for elves to mix among their own, where they do not stand out as much.

The consequence of this isolation is that humans tend to let the elves in the city fend for themselves, at times to their detriment, such as during riots when the alienage is sealed while the elves destroy their own homes in outrage until hunger forces them to relent.[3] This indifference extends to allowing the alienages to go on without access to regular city services human inhabitants might take for granted.[4]

Known alienages[edit | edit source]

Alienage concept art[5]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

Alienage from World of Thedas Vol 2

  • The cultural centerpiece of many alienages is the vhenadahl, or "tree of the People." In some alienages it is well-tended and peppered with small offerings or decorations, and in others it has been cut down for firewood.
  • Halamshiral does not have an alienage, as it is still mostly elven. Humans instead wall themselves off in the High Quarter.[17]
  • Revered Mothers will sometimes venture into an alienage to dispense advice, the Chant of Light and alms, and if they do are usually escorted by wary templars.[18]

References[edit | edit source]


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